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January 9, 2017 10:58 AM   Subscribe

On Saturday photographer Kaylyn Messer found a giant, near-perfect circle of ice [looped] spinning in the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River near North Bend, Washington.

Last year physicists from the Université de Liège in Belgium discovered what makes river ice disks, which are relatively rare, spin. As the ice on the bottom of the circle melts, the cool water sinks both downwards and horizontally causing a vertical vortex that spins the disk. Spin, spin, spin, spin, spin, spin...

Previously
posted by not_the_water (42 comments total) 52 users marked this as a favorite

 


That looks really cool. Somewhat hypnotic. I especially liked the video in the "spinning" link. Thanks!
posted by jaruwaan at 11:19 AM on January 9


Nature is so awesome! This is beautiful.
posted by obfuscation at 11:22 AM on January 9


That's cool! And cold!
posted by xingcat at 11:23 AM on January 9


Viral for new Ringu
posted by gwint at 11:23 AM on January 9 [8 favorites]


This is the sort of thing that made ancient people believe in the supernatural. It's just too weird and unnatural to attribute to nature, but there it is!
posted by rikschell at 11:30 AM on January 9 [7 favorites]


It's just so satisfying to watch. I could do it for hours.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:33 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


Man, physics is a better artist than me. No fair! Stupid physics...
posted by NoMich at 11:36 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


"Yeah, I worked with the Galactic Contact Council once. Crop circle mission. Tight-cloaca bastards couldn't handle someone who thought out of the dodecahedron. Gave me a massive egg-sack reaming and demoted me back to the Sol System. Anal probe team. Buncha mating prongs."
posted by PlusDistance at 11:38 AM on January 9 [13 favorites]


You know, for kids.
posted by bondcliff at 11:39 AM on January 9 [11 favorites]


This is one of my favorite places! Right above Snoqualmie Falls, where the most perfectly guilt free electricity is produced. No harm to salmon. The hike up to the falls is quite dramatic, you hear them, of course, but you come around a corner and see them all at once.
posted by Bee'sWing at 11:39 AM on January 9 [2 favorites]


Oh: Previously! That post includes a link (dead, but recovered via archive.org) with a very earnest field report.
posted by gwint at 11:43 AM on January 9


So, uh, is this the Twin Peaks announcement scheduled for today?
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 11:46 AM on January 9 [5 favorites]


Man, physics is a better artist than me. No fair! Stupid physics...

My first thought of natural geometric shapes is Saturn's hexagonal hurricane at it's north pole
posted by juiceCake at 11:59 AM on January 9 [9 favorites]


I've been trying to come up with a clever way to combine Goldsworthy and Banksy into a single name but it's escaping me.
posted by deadbilly at 12:10 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]


*banging fist on table * ice fairy ring! ice fairy ring!
posted by FirstMateKate at 12:20 PM on January 9 [2 favorites]


If I found one of these that large it would take inhuman amounts of restraint to not try to stand or sit in the middle of it and see if it would still float and rotate. And if it did, I'd probably set up a folding chair in the middle of it and just enjoy the scenery as I lazily spun around and around.

I'd also be sorely tempted to give into my curiosity, climb into some waders and really thick thermal base layers and get up close and personal with the weirdness.
posted by loquacious at 12:26 PM on January 9 [5 favorites]


...try to stand or sit in the middle of it...

That's why we can't have ice things
posted by Segundus at 12:31 PM on January 9 [64 favorites]


And if it did, I'd probably set up a folding chair in the middle of it and just enjoy the scenery as I lazily spun around and around.

You could always make your own.
posted by madajb at 12:48 PM on January 9 [10 favorites]


I've been trying to come up with a clever way to combine Goldsworthy and Banksy into a single name but it's escaping me.

It probably wouldn't be bankworthy even if you did.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:49 PM on January 9 [5 favorites]




^That should have been in the opening credits.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 1:01 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]


"...and always twirling, twirling, twirling toward cocktails."
posted by rhizome at 1:23 PM on January 9 [3 favorites]


This isn't Finnished yet
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 1:41 PM on January 9 [3 favorites]


posted by not_the_water

eponythermical

posted by progosk at 1:56 PM on January 9 [4 favorites]


Drop the needle!
posted by Kabanos at 2:08 PM on January 9 [2 favorites]


I, for one, welcome our spinning ice disk overlords.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:13 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]


> Oh: Previously! That post includes a link (dead, but recovered via archive.org) with a very earnest field report.

Indeed very earnest, but in this case the investigators doesn't seem to believe it was naturally formed. He concludes:
In summary, investigation of the ice circle in NE Utah suggests an implement was used to
create a near perfect circle of 5 feet 9 inches in diameter into very thin ice. It was concluded from
investigation that the circle had been carved or gouged, possibly by anti-clockwise rotation of a
hard or sharp implement, and not melted into the ice. Elemental analysis showed no unusual
concentrations of any elements in the ice-shards gathered from the groove. There was a complete
absence of any markings, prints or tracks in or around the formation to suggest how it might have
been formed. This case, in the absence of further input, remains unsolved.
This was 2002, well before the Liège report in the post, so his skepticism is understandable.
posted by beagle at 2:22 PM on January 9


My first thought of natural geometric shapes is Saturn's hexagonal hurricane at it's north pole

Well...not really a hurricane, but a cloud belt oscillating in a perfect sine wave. And, as everyone knows, when you wrap a sine wave around a circle...hexagon!
posted by sexyrobot at 2:30 PM on January 9 [4 favorites]


Now I want someone to start belting out "the Circle... of... Ice!"
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:33 PM on January 9 [4 favorites]


I made this for you.
posted by The Tensor at 3:57 PM on January 9 [3 favorites +] [!]

Wait, is it Tensor's Floating Disc?

Hello?
What?
Slow down, it's hard to--
Yes.
Yes.
Yes, I know it's not spelled like that.

Shut up.

posted by The Bellman at 2:36 PM on January 9 [4 favorites]


I love this. Way to go, nature.
posted by mixedmetaphors at 3:36 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]


Nature's lathes!
posted by Mister Moofoo at 3:43 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]


posted by not_the_water

Eponysterical!
posted by chavenet at 4:05 PM on January 9


You're late. Look up. :)
posted by Splunge at 4:15 PM on January 9


Yay, loquacious! So good to see you pop up again.

I would also be into nondestructively slowly looping around and toasting onlookers with a big REI mug of coffee that I didn't do a great job of rinsing out after breakfast oatmeal.
posted by Divine_Wino at 4:51 PM on January 9 [2 favorites]


Last year physicists from the Université de Liège in Belgium discovered what makes river ice disks, which are relatively rare, spin.

In other cases it could be a river pushing on it asymmetrically. They found one mechanism, but they didn't eliminate all others.
posted by sebastienbailard at 5:17 PM on January 9


Wow! Some people I know made one last weekend (by cutting a circle in the ice), we put some posts in it with ropes to pull it around, made ice sculptures in the middle, great fun. I had no idea they could actually occur naturally! (Maybe that's where the idea came from?)
posted by thefool at 5:23 PM on January 9


There's also man, evolved from apes millennia ago, and they are known to use tools and are the cause of may of the mysterious things found on planet Earth. Here, we see one use a tool to make the mysterious spinning circle of ice.
posted by fragmede at 7:14 PM on January 9 [2 favorites]


I must have driven right past it. I even vaguely think I noticed it and didn't spend long enough looking at it to realize that it was notable.

Middle Fork Snoqualmie is my happy place. And Saturday it was especially gorgeous.
posted by wotsac at 7:17 PM on January 9


This is the most perfect thing I have seen today. Possibly this year.
posted by karayel at 7:45 PM on January 9


Very nice, thanks for posting!

And nice to see you again, loquacious!
posted by Quietgal at 8:00 PM on January 9


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